Brewery Boom

Posted by Bryce Bunkers on

Craft beer and craft breweries have become ubiquitous to the urban and even not so urban setting. Every week I feel like I hear about a new taproom opening that I have to try. To be honest, I thought this fad may have tapered off by now, but my recent Google maps search for breweries has proven me very wrong. Which I suppose means this whole craft beer business can’t really be called a fad as the number of breweries in the U.S. and around the world keeps growing at an impressive rate.

Beertopia HK Press Photo

Up until the 80’s, the beer brewing scene was dominated by big breweries (think Budwiser, Coors, etc) and the U.S. saw the lowest number of breweries since prohibition in the 1930’s. Once home brewing was legalized by Jimmy Carter in 1978, the number of breweries in the U.S. started a strong resurgence. That year there were but 89 active breweries remaining across the 50 states.

Fast forward ten years to 1988, and there were already 199 active breweries. In 1994, the count passed 500. In 2011, it passed 2,000. And halfway through 2016, there were over 5,000 active breweries in the U.S. The trend in the U.S. is leading to brewery booms all around the world.

The U.K. actually ranks second in number of breweries in the world. Back in 2010, it had 828 breweries. By the end of 2016 that number hit 2,090.

Mexico has the highest preference towards beer in the Americas at 78%, versus wine and spirits (source: Brewers Association). It had only 14 breweries in 2010. At the end of 2016, the number was 400.

Finally, the island and peninsula of Hong Kong is seeing a beer boom. In 2010 there were just 4 active breweries. In 2012 they had their first ever craft beer festival, called Beertopia HK, which is now a massive extravaganza drawing 14,000 attendees and breweries from around the world. At the end of 2016, the number of local active breweries in Hong Kong reached 21.

In short, craft beer is on the rise and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Prost!

For those of you in the Minneapolis area, here are a few I’d recommend.

Wicked Wort Brewing Company

Utepils Brewing

Dangerous Man Brewing Company

Steel Toe Brewing

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New Video - How To Use Beer Stones

Posted by Bryce Bunkers on

Here's a quick video I just shot today, showing how to use Beer Stones to make your can or bottle of beer taste more like a draft.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Craft Show: Take Two

Posted by Theresa Bunkers on

The 2017 Spring Festival is coming up very soon!  Brew Muse has a booth again, and we will be in the same location as last year.  We're looking forward to this craft show as we had such a great time meeting everyone last year.  Brew Muse will taking custom orders, as usual, but will also have a large inventory of hops and olives that you'll be able to take home with you, so you can enjoy right away!
We will also have a fun surprise giveaway with every purchase. Stop by to learn what it is!
Hope to see you there!
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To The Grand Canyon

Posted by Theresa Bunkers on

A few weeks ago we traveled to Arizona for some sun, hiking, and relaxation.  Also on our list of things to do was to try out some of the local brews.
First we visited Arizona Wilderness Brewing, which had an interesting array of beers to choose from.  Bryce ordered Brettanomyces Imperial Stout, and while it smelled like a Cider it tasted unlike anything we’d ever tried before.  Definitely not a beer for everyday drinking, but something unique for those who are more adventurous.
Bryce and Theresa and the Grand Canyon
Later in the week we made the trek up to Grand Canyon National Park, as I have always wanted to go.  On our way we stopped in Williams and had dinner at Historic Brewing Barrel+Bottle House.  We were pleasantly surprised at the great selection of beers, other beverages, and delicious food.  Their branding was on point as well.  I'm not usually into brewery gear, but I seriously considered purchasing a few items.  This place is truly a gem and if you ever find yourself on the way to the Grand Canyon, make sure to check this place out on your way.  Bryce tried the Deer Lord altbier and absolutely loved it.
Bryce trying a Deer Lord beer
We also shared a flight of beers called The Seven Dwarves at the Oak Creek Brewery in Sedona. 
The Seven Dwarves flight of beer styles
Even with all these awesome options, sometimes old standbys like Corona with lime, Modelo, or Pacifico hit the spot on a hot day after a long hike.
Pacifico for Happy Hour after an MLB Spring Training game
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Belgium & Beer

Posted by Theresa Bunkers on

The last county we visited on our trip was Belgium.  Personally, I was more excited about the chocolate than the beer, but of course I partook in both.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect when it came to Belgium, but I'd heard my brother go on and on about how great the country was, so I was ready to explore.

While we were in Belgium, we stayed with family in a small village outside of Ghent, which meant we got to experience typical Belgium life.  This of course included visiting the local pub.  The place we visited was unassuming, but our cousin assured us that it was the best place for a drink.  The bartender/owner was friendly and knowledgeable about his beer selection and even brought out a not-on-the-menu beer for Bryce to try.  It was the perfect place to start our last week.  

Brtyce with the owner of the local pub in Evergem

Our first beers in Belgium

Belgium was full of delightful charms that I hadn’t anticipated.  For one, their radio stations had the most random and beautiful music selection.  One minute it was ABBA, then the next it was a song from Grease the musical, and finished off with a country love song sung in French.  Pure music bliss.  Another quirk was the fact that every house we visited had automated black out shutters.  These were magical until they automatically opened at 7am.  And finally, the house we stayed at had a group of chickens living next door.  I never realized that I had not had the pleasure of being woken up at 3am by roosters crowing before.  Now I can say I’ve successfully had that experience for an entire week.  

But back to the beer.  

Beautifully poured Bornem Dubbel

We were lucky enough to visit three different breweries during our stay. The first was De Halve Maan in Bruges.  This brewery is becoming famous quickly as it is the first brewery to install an underground pipeline that pumps beer from the brewery to the bottling facility.  

View of Bruges from atop the Brewery de Halve Maan

Tasting Brugse Zot blonde ale after the Brewery tour

The second brewery is a bit more famous.  We took a side trip to Amsterdam and visited the Heineken Brewery.  The actual tour part was short, and the rest was a surreal experience where we were able to explore the European hipster drinking scene, full of interactive displays and discotheque music.  From this tour we quickly realized that Europeans are in two camps: one loves Heineken beer and the other loathes it and says it’s not beer, but just good marketing.  

Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam

Our last brewery was a local place near the village we were staying in.  We had a personalized tour at Van Steenberge Brewery and were able to see their newly expanded brewing facility and learn about their environmentally responsible kegs.  This was one of the first breweries I had been to where they specifically touched on how they are trying to be environmentally friendly in their brewing.  

Needless to say, we very much enjoyed our time in Belgium and will definitely be back again.  

Bryce and Theresa in Belgium

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